Glasgow Rangers ace Steven Davis celebrated in style by crowning his landmark night with a crucial victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina in a Euro 2020 qualifying play-off semi-final.
The Rangers stalwart sent Steven Gerrard a timely reminder in a game that went right to the wire. His 120th appearance went all the way to 120 minutes, which ended with an iconic twist when Northern Ireland won their first ever penalty shoot-out.
Rangers recently signed Bongani Zungu from Amiens on a season-long loan, but he could be forced to wait his turn, as Davis has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, at times it looked like he was playing with a point to prove…
Gerrard generally only plays three men in midfield, and he is hardly short of options to choose from, although his side have sometimes been accused of looking lethargic in the final third. As previously highlighted by Football FanCast, he wanted an attacking midfielder and had been previously linked with Huddersfield’s Juninho Bacuna and Preston North End’s Daniel Johnson, before settling for Zungu instead.
Davis, Glen Kamara and Scott Arfield have started two out of the past three league games together whilst Ryan Jack worked on his return from fitness and Joe Aribo remains absent due to injury. However, although the 120-cap Northern Ireland international’s work ethic is second to none, he arguably isn’t in his absolute prime any more.
But the Gers may have stumbled across the second coming of the seasoned veteran. Per SofaScore, the 35-year-old took 59 touches of the ball against Bosnia, whilst he won 75% of his aerial duels and made 34 passes at a pass accuracy rating of 79%. He also completed two clearances, two interceptions and made two tackles. And a look at his heatmap reveals he put in an immense shift around the outside of the centre circle as a critical component of the midfield.
Speaking to Sky Sports, his former Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino insisted you can put him in the same bracket as Barcelona greats Xavi and Andreas Iniesta as he shares “the intelligence to read the game.” Against Bosnia, Davis showed he is still an important part of the supply chain, with the ability to dictate play and control possession, which is something he does so well for his club. Write him off at your peril.
If Rangers are to regain the title, Gerrard is going to need all of the help he can possibly get. With Zungu arguably bringing more creativity to the engine room, the former captain could be a useful asset in the months ahead. And he didn’t cost a single penny – what a bargain!